Lehigh Valley rallies again, sends RailRiders back below .500

Jun. 2—For the second game in a row, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre jumped out to an early lead.

For the second game in a row, the RailRiders watched as Lehigh Valley rallied past them to steal a win.

With Dustin Peterson's fourth-inning homer their lone extra-base hit on the night, the IronPigs manufactured enough offense beat the RailRiders, 6-3, on Friday night at Coca-Cola Park, sending Scranton/Wilkes-Barre back below .500.

The RailRiders (27-28) held a two-run lead after Billy McKinney's two-run home run in the second inning, but didn't score again against Lehigh Valley starter Noah Skirrow and a quartet of relievers.

Peterson led off the fourth inning with a home run off of Randy Vásquez, who was making his first start back with the RailRiders since he gave the New York Yankees a strong outing May 26 in his major league debut. Peterson's blast to the lawn in left-center field got the IronPigs within one, 3-2. After a one-out walk by Jim Haley and a base hit from Jhailyn Ortiz, Vimael Machín knotted the game at 3 with a single.

Vásquez stranded two runners to keep it tied through the inning, but it wouldn't last longer than that. Scott Kingery and Darick Hall began the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles and, after Vásquez fanned Peterson, Simon Muzziotti's groundout brought in the go-ahead run.

That ended Vásquez's outing. The 24-year-old, who allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings against the San Diego Padres in his last time on the mound, gave up seven hits to the IronPigs, walked three and struck out five. He dipped to 1-6 with a 5.13 ERA on the season with the RailRiders.

On the other side, Skirrow was in trouble early. With one out in the first inning, Oswald Peraza worked a nine-pitch walk and Ben Rortvedt and Andrés Chaparro followed with singles to give the RailRiders a 1-0 lead. Elijah Dunham then rocketed a 103-mph line drive up the middle, but it Kingery snagged it at shortstop and turned it into an inning-ending, and momentum-killing, double play.

Lehigh Valley got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Kingery walked, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Peterson's single through the right side.

McKinney's two-run blast over the high wall in right gave the RailRiders a 3-1 lead one out into the second inning. It was the team's Triple-A-leading 94th home run of the season, and it was another early lead for a team that was ahead, 3-0, after the top of the third in Thursday's game.

The RailRiders, however, wouldn't get another runner into scoring position until there were two outs in the top of the sixth and Skirrow was out of the game. The 24-year-old righty — who held the RailRiders to one earned run in five innings in his first start of the season — survived five walks in his 5 2/3 innings despite striking out only a pair.

The RailRiders' best chance for more offense came in the seventh when Estevan Florial led off with a double against Erich Uelmen and Oswald Peraza followed with an infield single to put runners at the corners. But before Rortvedt could work a four-pitch walk, Peraza was caught stealing second for the first out. Uelmen then fanned Chaparro and Dunham to strand two.

Lehigh Valley tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth, and they got some help from RailRiders to do it. Greg Weissert walked Peterson to start the inning and Muzziotti's soft liner to center dunked in for a hit to put two on base. A catcher's interference by Rortvedt loaded the bases and set up Ortiz's sacrifice fly. A passed ball by Rortvedt moved the runners into scoring position and, after Peraza cut down a run at the plate for the second out of the inning, Haley dashed home when Machin intentionally got caught trying to steal second.

Contact the writer: sports@timesshamrock.com